The injuries keep mounting for Golden State Warriors and the defending NBA champions will need Steph Curry to be at his MVP best if they are to beat Toronto Raptors in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
The series heads to Oakland for the first time after the two teams split the opening two matches in Canada. GSW have been formidable in the post-season at home recently, winning their last five matches, while they have won the last five Finals matches at the Oracle Arena.
However, Golden State coach Steve Kerr has a depleted squad to work with for Wednesday’s clash, with Kevin Durant missing for the seventh game in a row, while forward Kevon Looney is out for the rest of the Finals due to a collarbone injury.
Klay Thompson’s participation is also questionable due to a hamstring issue and if the star guard misses out then it will heap more pressure than usual on Curry’s shoulders. The 31-year-old is 4/5 to score over 31.5 points against the Raptors in Game 3, which he will need to do if GSW are to get the win.
The injuries to the hosts will allow the Raptors to double team the two-time MVP, knowing that there will be a diminished threat coming from the rest of the Warriors. If they can shut Curry down – easier said than done – it gives Toronto a great chance to get their noses ahead in the series.
Toronto were off colour in Game 2 – their shot per cent dropping from 50.6 per cent in Game 1 to 37.2 in Sunday’s loss – but they feel that is easily remedied.
They head west after winning four out of the last six on the road in the post-season and did get the better of Golden State on their last visit to California, blowing out the Warriors 113-93 in December.
Whether the Raptors can repeat their emphatic win from the end of 2018 is highly dubious, but they are certainly worth getting behind to make it a close contest.
Pascal Siakam came crashing back down to earth on Sunday after posting career-best playoff numbers in Game 1. The power forward shot five of 18 in Game 2 but was still dominant in and around the net.
He’s recorded eight total rebounds in both the games against Golden State and has passed the 7.5 threshold in four of his last six games.